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A Halloween themed parade at a school in Seattle has been canceled with school administrators arguing that it “marginalizes people of color.”
Following five years of deliberation about the future of the school’s annual pumpkin parade, Benjamin Franklin Elementary School has decided to nix the holiday tradition this year on the advice of the school’s Racial Equity Team.
The Pumpkin Parade had traditionally featured a procession of elementary students dressed in Halloween costumes.
“Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday,” a spokesperson told Jason Rantz, a Seattle-based conservative radio host. “Specifically, these students have requested to be isolated on campus while the event took place.”
“In alliance with SPS’s unwavering commitment to students of color, specifically African American males, the staff is committed to supplanting the Pumpkin Parade with more inclusive and educational opportunities during the school day,” the spokesperson added.
In place of the Pumpkin Parade, students at the school may participate in “autumnal work” and “thematic units of study about the fall.” They also might look at “sharing all the cozy feelings of the season.”
In a newsletter to the parents obtained by Rantz, the school explained the reasoning behind its decision to cancel the Pumpkin Parade.
“Halloween events create a situation where some students must be excluded for their beliefs, financial status, or life experience. Costume parties often become an uncomfortable event for many children, and they distract students and staff from learning,” the letter read.
It continued, “Large events create changes in schedules with loud noise levels and crowds. Some students experience over stimulation, while others must deal with complex feelings of exclusion. It’s uncomfortable and upsetting for kids.”
Not every parent is happy with the parade’s cancelation. One, David Malkin, called it an “exercise in affluent white vanity that is wokeism.”
“I don’t see any way in which this actually addresses any inequities to the extent that there are any inequities,” Malkin told Rantz. “You know, this just seems like grandstanding on behalf of the principal and the staff who are predominantly white.”
“I hate to see these kinds of things slowly be whittled away and destroyed or being done away with because someone has some, you know, theory in their head that somehow this is exclusionary when, again, it’s quite the opposite,” he added.
Yet the school’s principal has stood by the decision.
“Halloween is a very complex issue for schools. Yes, I agree this event marginalized our students of color. Several of our students historically opted for an alternate activity in the library while the pumpkin parade took place,” Principal Stanley Jaskot told Fox.
More and more, parents across the country have been voicing their concerns about the increasingly “woke” direction of their children’s schools. Many parents have spoken up about school mask mandates, Critical Race Theory in the classroom, school transgender policies, and even the presence of school resource officers to provide security.